Defiant Donald Sterling insists he won't sell the Clippers franchise
You say that Sterling is under a lifetime ban? He is. You say the other NBA team owners can remove Sterling with a three-quarters majority vote? They can, and the vote is likely to be 29-0. But have you ever seen an NBA owner simply give up his team without a fight? I'm so old that I've been watching the NBA since this team was still called the San Diego Clippers. The only times I've seen a guy sell a team unwillingly was if he was going bankrupt or if he was named Ted Stepien.
Donald Sterling is not willing to sell the Clippers. Sterling has not spoken publicly, but Fox News' Jim Gray spoke to Sterling. "The team is not for sale and he will not be selling the team, " Gray reported, according to his conversation with Sterling.
Sports Illustrated legal correspondent Michael McCann expects Sterling to take the NBA to court, which could delay a forced sale by months or years. "Sterling, an attorney, is regarded as one of the most litigious owners in professional sports," McCann writes. "If there is one owner who would sue over expulsion, it's probably him. Sterling could seek a court injunction preventing the NBA from expelling him."
The Los Angeles Times additionally notes that Sterling has broken no laws. Sports law professor Cari Grieb told the Times "she expected Sterling to fight the potential forced sale of his team because the league’s constitution allows expulsion of an owner only under circumstances such as gambling, fraud or an inability to fulfill a contractual obligation to the league."
Sterling also has an antitrust lawsuit option. "If he’s forced to sell at $575 million and he’s alleging the team is actually worth $300 million more,” Ms. Grieb told the Times, “you would then treble the damages and it would be $900 million damages."
Getting rid of Donald Sterling will be more difficult than it seems. Remember, I am also so old that I remember when George Steinbrenner received a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball in 1990.
Steinbrenner was reinstated less than two years later.